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Get Things Done

If we did all the things we are capable of, we would literally astound ourselves.

Thomas Edison


Available advice on productivity seems to be endless.  And probably for good measure—most of us feel as if we have too much to do and too little time to do it.

Get Things Done

Speaking of productivity advice, the title to this blog “Get Things Done,” is not about the highly popular and effective book by David Allen, Get Things Done.

I am using this title because of the three words and their usefulness in understanding how to get things done.


The primary definition of get is to “come to have or hold (something); receive.”  The secondary definition is to “succeed in attaining, achieving, or experiencing; obtain.”

Get is an action word, which we too often forget when trying to accomplish what is before us.  We can create to-do lists, turn off our email, and organize everything we need to do.  But we have not done anything, the get of getting things done has not happened.

Whatever system you are using to improve your productivity needs to result in finishing something.  To get things done means at some point, you hold, received, attained, achieved, or experienced something.

Otherwise, you haven’t got to the get yet.


As the Thomas Edison quote referenced, it is all about the “things we are capable of.”  When we have our plates full and are trying to chip away at our to-do list, we need to remember that they need to be divided into things.  What we have to accomplish needs to be started and finished one thing at a time.

As most productivity gurus remind us, it is the distractions and our inattention that causes most things not to be completed.  Unfortunately, we think of the things we need to do as big projects, problems to be tackled, and obstacles to overcome.  No, they are just things, that when taken in bite sizes, can be accomplished one after another.


Done: means finished, over with, through.  If you have to-do lists, the things are checked off.

The enemy of done is our lack of decisions and procrastination.  If you are not ready to make a decision, then why is this task on your to-do list.  Why start something that you are not ready, prepared, or capable of finishing?

Equally frustrating is starting something and then procrastinate.  Maybe you don’t like the outcome, or it ends up being more work than you anticipated, so you delay.  But it has to get done, so finish it.

Get Things Done Suggestions

Here are a few suggestions that are outside of the normal productivity hacks.

  1. Have a defined process to set priorities. Many times, everything on your list is important.  Have a method to identify if:

1) you have the tools, information, and ability to complete the task,

2) you know the value to your business of each task, and

3) have established the time allotted for each task.

These three pieces of information should be used in setting all priorities.

  1. Important versus urgent. Spend a few minutes determining if what you are getting ready to start is important in your job and to your business, or is it urgent because someone needs it done right away.  Remember, urgent tasks may not be important tomorrow.
  2. Consider how to measure your effectiveness. Although not all tasks are measurable, it is beneficial to be able to see how productive you are.  Constantly think about how you can improve your productivity and how that productivity can be measured.

The Bible

Measuring your productivity is a delicate undertaking.  Simply counting the items checked off your to-do list is meaningless.  Counting the number of staff that your accomplishments influence might be better.  Adding up the value to your business by your actions would be good.

But the Bible suggests a better way to measure productivity.  Matthew 7:17-20 says.

Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit.  A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit.  Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.  Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.

Getting things done should always be about doing things of quality.  Time is too precious to allot to getting things done that brings little or no value to your business, yourself, and those around you.  The things you need to get done are the right things. 

Be wary of spending your time on the get and done, but not considered sufficiently the quality of the things?